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By : Bobby Mani T
On : 02 June 2010

Supreme Court on Eviction

 A landlord is the best judge of his requirement while seeking to evict a tenant from his premises and courts cannot dictate to him how and in what manner he should live, the Supreme Court has held.

A vacation Bench comprising Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar said: “If the landlord wishes to live with comfort in a house of his own, the law does not command or compel him to squeeze himself and dwell in lesser premises so as to protect the tenant's continued occupation in tenancy premises.

“However, the bona fide requirement of the landlord must be distinguished from a mere whim or fanciful desire. It must be manifested in actual need so as to convince the court that it is not a mere fanciful or whimsical desire.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Chauhan said: “The need should be bona fide and not arbitrary, and the requirement pleaded and proved must neither be a pretext nor a ruse adopted by the landlord for evicting the tenant. Therefore, the court must take relevant circumstances into consideration while determining the issue of bona fide need so that the protection afforded to a tenant is not rendered illusory or whittled down.”

The Bench said: “The landlord's desire for possession, however honest it might otherwise be, has, inevitably, a subjective element in it.

The ‘desire,' to become ‘requirement,' must have the objective element of a ‘need' which can be decided only by taking all relevant circumstances into consideration.”
‘Strike a balance'

Citing an earlier ruling, the Bench emphasised the need for social legislations like the Rent Control Act striking a balance between rival interests so as to be just to the law.

“The law ought not to be unjust to one and give a disproportionate benefit or protection to another section of society,” it said.
Second appeal

The Bench added that the High Court should not entertain a second appeal unless it raised a substantial question of law, not merely on facts.

“It is not permissible for the High Court to decide the second appeal by re-appreciating the evidence as if it was deciding the first appeal unless it comes to the conclusion that the findings recorded by the court below were perverse,” it said.

In the instant case, the appellant, Dinesh Kumar, challenged the Madhya Pradesh High Court's order allowing the application of the respondent landlord, Yusuf Ali, for his eviction.

The Supreme Court partly allowed the appeal taking into consideration the fact that the appellant had been a tenant for over three decades.

It held that the landlord could recover possession of half of the area of the rented premises, leaving the other half to the tenant.


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